Living between two states can make custody much more complicated, but moving might be the best option for parents who find new jobs or better opportunities. If you will be moving and have a child, you will need to determine what kind of custody plan will work best and if you or the other parent will retain joint custody or have a sole custody plan.
When a child lives between states, the state where you divorced has jurisdiction
When you live with a child who will need to travel between states to visit the other parent or for custody purposes, you need to have a plan that considers differences between the states and what to do if your travel plans fall through.
For example, if you and your ex live near each other, but one of you is in Kansas while the other is in Missouri, you should stick to a custody arrangement made in the state where you lived when you were married. That state’s court will have jurisdiction, so the plan you set up needs to be followed in both states.
Relocation laws in Missouri and Kansas
When it comes to the relocation of children, Missouri has significantly stricter laws than most other states in the country. Most areas of the country allow for a “geographic allowance” on how far away a parent can move a child. In the “Show-Me State,” parents are prohibited from relocating children anywhere without the courts’ permission.
Similarly, Kansas parents with legal or physical custody cannot pick up stakes and move without the other parent’s permission or court approval. Anything more than 90 days requires written notification sent via registered mail at least 30 days before departure. Failure to take those steps could result in a contempt of court charge and possible reimbursement to the other parent for legal expenses, including attorney fees.
As for how to make custody work, you will need to consider which state offers better schooling, if there are benefits to your child living in one state over the other, and how you will have them travel back and forth. If you live close together, the distance may not be far enough to make a difference. Still, if you live far enough apart that a drop-off or pick-up is not easy to do, then you will need to consider which parent should have primary custody while the other has visitation rights.
A focus on the best interests of children
There are differences between all states, so you should talk with someone who is familiar with the laws in both and anything that may affect child custody or your child’s life. Whether there are differences in health care plans and policies across state lines, education, or other topics, you must consider what is best for your child and make your decisions part of the custody order.